Sunday, May 31, 2015

Quote of the Week -- May 31, 2015

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

Benjamin Franklin

Have a good week,

Friday, May 29, 2015

Reset Button Writing Prompt

If this year came with a reset button, what would you change?

I know many districts are out for the summer, but we still have two and a half weeks left.  Here is a writing prompt with printable stationery you could use at the end of the school year or the end of the calendar year.

I'm also curious what you would change as a teacher.  I know I am always thinking through what I want to do better next time.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

Four children are chosen to compete in a candy making contest.  Logan is the candymaker's son and hoping to succeed him.  Miles has had trauma in his past and is allergic to rowboats and pink.  Daisy has a sweet personality and is unusually strong.  Phillip is always writing in his secret notebook.  Each section of the book is told by a different contestant's perspective.

If you like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Gollywhopper Games, and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, you will like The Candymakers.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, May 25, 2015

My Students Love Word Central

This is BIGbot, one of the characters from Merriam-Webster's Word Central.  My students beg to play the word games on this site, and I let them because I know they are building vocabulary when they do.

Alpha-bot looks like a word search, but the students play an audio of a word and then move the letters around to spell the word correctly.

Robo-Bee is really multiple choice where students find synonyms, antonyms, and correct word usage.

Big-bot eats words that are synonyms or antonyms.

Jumble Kids is the online version of the word puzzles published in the newspaper.

I usually have a menu of choices for students to work on independent computer practice.  If I leave off Word Central, someone always asks for it.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Quote of the Week -- May 24, 2015

Leisure is the most challenging responsibility a man can be offered.

William Russell

I hope you are enjoying some of yours.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Groceries: Volume and Weight

Last Friday, I shared a measurement activity freebie.  This week I am sharing the more complex task that I referred to in that post.

To download Groceries: Volume and Weight, click here.

What I wanted my students to do was begin to interact with food labels and recognize the units of measurement for weight and volume.   I would use the gradual release of responsibility model to teach this.  I would model on the doc cam and have them fill out this sheet with me.  I would next have partners use food packages in class.  This sheet could be used as a math measurement station or even homework for older students.

To collect all of my measurement freebies, click the "measurement" tag at the bottom of this post.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

One morning a family runs out of milk for their breakfast cereal.  Father goes out to buy some more.  The children wonder what has delayed him and so begins a story of time travel, dinosaurs, pirates, elves, and more.  Fortunately, he brings home the milk.

This book would make a fun read aloud.  Click here to download a fill-in-the-blank story frame that follows a good luck/bad luck pattern.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Need Freebies?

Classroom Freebies Too
It's been several months since I started posting on the collaborative blog Classroom Freebies Too.  I have to say that I've enjoyed sharing my free lessons and ideas with a larger audience.
Some districts are getting out for the summer already.  We have three and a half more weeks.  If you are like me, your classroom budget has been spent for the year and yet you still need fresh ideas to keep the students engaged. 
Click on the picture at the top of this post to visit Classroom Freebies Too.  To get other free ideas, visit my Pinterest Board Free Teaching Materials.
Follow Mary Bauer's board Free Teaching Materials on Pinterest.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Quote of the Week -- May 17, 2015

Between stimulus and response is our greatest power - the freedom to choose.

Stephen Covey

Have a good week,

Friday, May 15, 2015

Units of Measurement: Metric vs. Customary

Our adopted math curriculum doesn't have nearly enough measurement activities -- especially connected to real life.  I find myself constantly creating activities for my students.

This one page organizer can be used for multiple activities.  (Click here to download.)  First I want my students to identify the units of measurement in the correct box.  (I have included an answer key for your convenience.)

Next, I raid my cupboards and bring in packages of food with a mix of customary and metric measurements.  I have students do a scavenger hunt of sorts, writing down the units they find in the correct box in the organizer.

Finally I send a sheet like this home as homework to do a similar scavenger hunt in their own kitchen cupboards.

Last year I started with an activity that needed more scaffolding.  Next week I plan to share the more complicated task.

Here are some other measurement freebies:

Metric Conversion Chart

Customary Conversion Chart


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt

The mystery begins when Lucas notices a man copying a Rembrandt painting at a museum in Minneapolis and then again in the National Gallery in London.  Lucas and her friend Kari find it suspicious, that the man is defensive when he discover them observing him.

When a Rembrandt painting is "discovered" in Amsterdam, the girls suspect it's a forgery and they decide to investigate.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, May 11, 2015

What Makes a Good Teacher -- Revisited

Three years ago I wrote a post full of hope about the teacher evaluation system in our district.  Now that we have more fully adopted the Charlotte Danielson Framework, I'm a little frustrated with all the busy work.

Just before the end of the year conversations we were all comparing notes about what artifacts to submit to our administrators.  As each person mentioned what they were submitting, others were concerned that they should submit that also.  How much is enough?

The weekend before my final meeting, I was taking a walk and realized that if I settled for "proficient" instead of striving for "distinguished", I would probably be in a better frame of mind for my students Monday morning.  Oh, the irony.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Quote of the Week -- May 10, 2015

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Author Unknown

Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Elise has lived with her aunt and uncle ever since her parents died when she was little.  Her father wrote letters for her before he died and the last one arrives on her twelfth birthday with a hint of upcoming surprises.  Just after this, she receives a key that unlocks one of eight locked doors in the barn.  As she opens each room, she learns more about her parents, her friendships, and herself.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Quote of the Week -- May 3, 2015

If you hear a voice within you say, "You cannot paint," then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh

Have a good week,

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Currently May 2015

Hello, it's May and Oh Boy Fourth Grade posted Currently May late last night.  Join her for the blog party.

I'm excited to have my stepdaughter move home today.  I feel like I have such a long to do list this weekend.  We have six and a half weeks left of school.  (It's been one of those years, so I'm ready to be done.)
Here are my summer plans, hopes and dreams.  I definitely plan to attend my family reunion this summer.  I missed last summer, so I'm itching to catch up with everyone.
I need to get creative with some summer income.  College tuition is expensive.  It would be great if I could write something amazing that resonated with others.
And now to join the party...see you there.
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